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Chamber of Commerce honors four community members

by Kari Ashworth - Executive Editor
Wed, Feb 5th 2020 05:00 pm
The award recipients stand together showing off the awards they received for their great services to the community. Photo courtesy of Marie Bell
The award recipients stand together showing off the awards they received for their great services to the community. Photo courtesy of Marie Bell

The Brockport Chamber of Commerce held its annual awards dinner on Thursday, Jan. 30, at Salmon Creek Country Club. The event began with a social hour at 6 p.m., followed by a dinner buffet and the presentation of the awards.

The Chamber honored four community members with three awards. Town of Sweden Attorney James Bell presented the Community Service Award to Art and Cathy Appleby for their continuous work in the community over the years.

The Applebys, who are both from the Albany area, met at The College at Brockport in 1974. The pair have been involved in the Brockport community since their college days, with Art being active in Brockport Student Government and Cathy with The Stylus. The two decided to stay in Brockport after college, saying they liked the village.

Since the pair graduated, they have been involved in numerous organizations, including the Brockport Junior Women’s Club, the Rotary Club (Art) and the Alumni Association at the college (Cathy). The Applebys have always been involved in their community, and Art said they would continue with certain activities even after their children were done with them.

“I stick to things; I don’t give up; so when my son was done with scouting, I wasn’t,” Art said. “By then I was charter representative for the troop, and I stayed charter rep for another 10 years after that because I enjoyed it and there was still a need there. And the same for Odyssey of the Mind — it’s for creative thinking; it’s a worldwide thing. When our kids were done with Odyssey of the Mind around 2000 or so, I wasn’t done, I started judging; we’re still judging. I got [our kids] back into judging.”

The Applybys said they are thankful for the recognition.

“We’re very thankful to have the opportunity to influence what goes on in the community,” Art said.
Cathy agreed and said the award was even more special because neither of them grew up in Brockport.
“It is an honor; especially since it’s our chosen community,” Cathy said. “We didn’t grow up here; we came to school here and decided to stay here.”

The second award presented was the Beautification Award, given to Town of Sweden Supervisor and local attorney Kevin Johnson. Johnson has worked tirelessly to renovate the law firm, located at 109 Main St., he bought in 2011.

Johnson did a full renovation of the interior and exterior of the building, all while preserving the historical character of the building.

“Some years ago we did a full renovation of the interior of the building; the exterior was sort of left because it was serviceable,” Johnson said. “But the building needed to be insulated, the exterior, the paint is bad and some of the shingles were falling apart. So we had a full renovation done. We had a guy design it so that it was done with vinyl siding but — it’s maintained the character of the property.”

The third and final award presented was the Business of the Year Award, which was given to Sara’s Garden Center Owner Kathy Kepler.

“[Sara’s] is a business that exemplifies what we all strive for as a small business,” Chamber President Justin Hopkins said.

Sara’s has been operating for over 20 years and has grown to 20,000 square feet of greenhouse space. Kepler’s nomination was a combination of her business and her work at beautifying Downtown Brockport and the Welcome Center.

Kepler could not attend, but she sent someone in her place to accept the award.

The evening continued with a short speech from Barry Flansburg, who works in Assemblyman Steve Hawley’s office, explaining he had been taking notes throughout the evening and would report back what he had heard to Hawley.

Legislators Mike Zale and Jackie Smith then gave letters of recognition to each awardee, giving small anecdotes about each recipient.

Following closing remarks from Hopkins, the attendees chatted amongst themselves before making their exits.


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Taken by Vincent Croce:
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